Senegal government 'sold' diplomas

December 18, 1998

Western embassies in Dakar are insisting that Senegalese citizens seeking university places overseas sit qualifying tests before they can be issued student visas.

The action follows the discovery of a racket for the sale of baccalaureate diplomas that would-be students use to support their applications.

For the past three years, European and North American embassies in Dakar have been inundated with visa applications.

Applicants attach admission letters from the host universities to the documents they send to the embassies, including evidence of their academic standing.

Officials in the Senegalese ministry of education have been arrested and questioned about the sale of the diplomas, which can be used to gain admission to any university.

The officials confessed that for three years they have been selling diplomas to students seeking ways of travelling to the West.

The students used the diplomas to obtain legitimate visas to a Western country, but in reality made a living there as traders in African arts and crafts, and also as soothsayers, fortune-tellers and magicians.

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